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Newbury Park Gets a Fresh Look

Softball: Year off revives Pabon, who drives in go-ahead run in Panthers' 6-3 victory over Simi Valley.


SIMI VALLEY — Nancy Pabon was so tired of softball, she didn't even go out for the team during her freshman year at Newbury Park High.

"I think the year off was a good thing for me," said Pabon, now a refreshed sophomore who is wearing out opposing pitchers.

On Thursday, Pabon was three for four and drove in the go-ahead run in the Panthers' 6-3 Marmonte League victory over Simi Valley at Rancho Santa Susana Community Park.

"It's really nice to have Nancy playing and to have her hitting in the No. 2 spot in our lineup," said Pete Ackermann, Newbury Park coach.

The center fielder, who improved her batting average to .370, has provided crucial protection for junior leadoff batter Oli Keohohou, one of the most feared hitters in the region.

Keohohou was one for three and scored two runs.

It was Keohohou's sacrifice fly in the fifth inning that tied the score, 2-2. Pabon followed with her third single, a groundball up the middle that scored Jessica Murphy from second, to provide Newbury Park with a 3-2 lead.

The Panthers (14-3, 5-0 in league play) added three runs in the seventh against reliever Jessica Nyberg, thanks in large part to three of six errors committed in the game by Simi Valley (10-4, 2-2).

"We made some young mistakes today," said Pioneer Coach Suzanne Manlet, who had to significantly juggle her lineup.

Instead of all-league pitcher Brittney Green (8-2), who was recently diagnosed with tendinitis in her foot, Manlet started Jamie Astorino (0-1) in the circle.

Instead of all-league infielder Tracie Hall at shortstop, it was sophomore Nicole Brazier, who committed three errors in her varsity debut.

Hall, nursing a sore arm, started at first base, and Green filled in at third base for Casie Laughrey, who was out of town to attend the funeral of her grandfather.

Newbury Park, ranked No. 4 in the region by The Times, played perfect defense behind right-handers Katie Stokx (10-2) and Alyson Blum.

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